LA Judge Leaves Outdoor Dining Ban In Place But Demands To See Evidence Supporting The Policy

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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While Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant declined to issue a court order lifting the county’s temporary ban on outdoor dining Wednesday, he is requiring the county to provide evidence that the ban is backed by science, according to multiple outlets.

A Nov. 25 health order banned outdoor dining for at least three weeks to fight the spread of coronavirus, according to KCAL 9.

The California Restaurants Association (CRA) and Mark Geragos, an attorney who owns the restaurant Engine Co. 28 in downtown Los Angeles, reportedly sued the county. Geragos is arguing the ban is unconstitutional and that the county provides no evidence the ban will slow the spread, according to a portion of the complaint tweeted by Fox’s Bill Melugin.

“Defendants’ Order is an irrational and unlawful overreach of supposed emergency power as there is no evidence whatsoever that the closure of outdoor-dining restaurants will result in curbing the rise of county-wide COVID-19 cases,” the complaint reads, according to the tweet.

“To the contrary, Defendants’ ill-conceived Order will actually have the unintended effect of further spreading the virus by effectively forcing businesses, such as Plaintiff’s, to lay off or furlough employees who will then likely further congregate and cluster with family and friends.”

Chalfant declined to take any action to lift the ban, but did set another hearing for next Tuesday during which he wants the county to provide evidence that would justify the ban — evidence that shows the threat of COVID-19 transmission through outdoor dining, according to KCAL9. (RELATED: LA Mayor Bans Unnecessary Walking As Part Of New COVID-19 Restrictions)

Jot Condie, president and CEO of the CRA said Chalfant’s order was a step in the right direction.

“We are pleased today for the order from Judge James C. Chalfant. An order to show cause means that Los Angeles County, which has banned outdoor dining at restaurants, must finally step forward and show evidence linking outdoor dining to the ongoing rise in coronavirus cases,” Condie said in a statement posted to Twitter.

“As we’ve repeatedly said, their order was arbitrary and targeted restaurants unfairly, without supporting evidence.”

Los Angeles County has nearly 415,000 positive coronavirus cases with a positivity rate of 13.0%, according to LA Public Health. There are 2,439 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, according to the report.